Show your support
The Countryside Alliance has introduced a pro-hunting rubber wristband which is half red and half green and bears the message BAN THE BAN. They are available from CA stands at point-to-points and county shows throughout the country, on on their website at www.countryside-alliance.org for a voluntary donation of £10 for four.
Simon Hart says: “In recent months wrist bands have become increasingly popular as a cheap and highly visible way of supporting a cause, and we have already had a great response to our version.
“Not only are wearers sending a clear message of their determination to fight the Hunting Act, but on a practical level they are contributing financially to our legal challenges, helping our campaign where it is most needed. No supporter of hunting, whether young or old, should be without an Alliance wristband this year. Wear your wristband and show support for your sport.”
Challenges and injunctions
The Countryside Alliance-backed challenge to the Hunting Act on human rights grounds will be heard in the High Court the week of 4 July, alongside a case brought under EU law on free movement of goods and workers by nine people.
The nine, which include an Irish horse dealer and breeder, a West Country hireling operator, a Belgian-based Viscount, plus Portuguese and German hunting enthusiasts, will say that their rights have been infringed in a disproportionate manner.
A procedural hearing was held last week relating to the CA human rights challenge. Mr Justice Collins, sitting at the High Court, said their case, which is being handled by David Anderson QC, should be heard with that brought by UK campaigners.
Anderson is seeking an order to quash the Hunting Act or a declaration that it is of no effect and should not be enforced.
The Vote-OK campaign has been doing stirling work in the run up to the election, rallying support from hunt supporters across the country to help stuff envelopes; put up posters; pound the pavements, leafleting and canvassing. For more details about what you can do visit: www.vote-ok.co.uk
The Countryside Alliance has launched a Cyber Protest against the Hunting Act. It is described as “an online demonstration designed to enable many thousands of people across the world to show their opposition to the state’s unwarranted interference into the lives of ordinary.” To sign up visit www.fightprejudice.org
You can also help by donating to the CA’s Legal Challenge appeal, which will help cover the cost of the legal appeals. Visit www.countrysidealliance.org and follow the links.
The Countryside Alliance has had a massive increase in membership since the hunting ban was announced. In all, more than 6,500 new memberships have been signed since September, with “memberships” including families and couples as well as individuals, so the real head count will be higher.
The RSPCA has signed up three anti-hunting MPs — Ann Widdecombe, Ian Cawsey and Norman Baker — as vice-presidents. It has also appointed anti-hunting MEP Dr Caroline Lucas, bringing the number of vice-presidents to 20.
Protests against the ban
“In the end, we decided it would give us an opportunity to make a polite stand on the issue of hunting. We proudly wore our CA badges. We were introduced to Tony Blair and Tessa Jowell, neither of whom could fail to miss our support for hunting. It was polite and civilised, but we certainly got our point across.”
“When I told my friends on Monday that I’d been hunting, they didn’t believe me at first. Several said it served me right that it was getting banned, but I did persuade one of them. Everyone had thought it was sweet I had ponies, but when they found out that the ponies’ favourite thing was a day out hunting, it shocked them.”
CA chief executive Simon Hart said: “This is about what we would have expected from Alun Michael, who has failed to show any consistency or integrity on the issue of hunting. It is a sorry state of affairs when a DEFRA minister avoids the countryside because he cannot face up to his responsibilities. There can never have been a Rural Affairs Minister who is more out of touch with rural Britain“.
Williams says: “I set off without an itinerary, unannounced. My letter reflected the support I received on the way. I was treated like a king, and Dakkers was fatter by the end than when we began.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- If you hear that a minister is due to visit your area, contact the CA Action Office
- Keep in touch with your CA regional director and hunt campaigner for details of local action
- Use and distribute car stickers, correx boards and posters. Order them via the CA website or from the action office
- Lobby the House of Lords. See the website or contact your regional director for your county allocation of peers
- Keep in touch with your local hunt to find out about the role you can play in the political process as we approach the next general election
- For further details (tel: 01367 850488) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (www.countryside-alliance.org)
- Write to the Prime Minister (Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA or Myrobella, Farfield Terrace, Trimdon Colliery, Co Durham) and copying a national paper such as The Sun (Dear Sun, The Sun, 1 Virginia St, London E98 1SL; email@example.com).
- Lobby cabinet ministers whenever they are in your region. The CA says that this is one of the single most essential activities.
- Contact your local Chief Constable to fix a visit to discuss enforcement and relationships with the rural community. Remember to ask him or her about using CCTV to catch people hunting!